Arusha, April 15, 2010 (FH) - Melchide Mukandagijimana, wife of genocide-accused Prosper Mugiraneza who was testifying in defence of the former Rwandan minister for Youth, Callixte Nzabonimana, Thursday alleged before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that her family and that of the accused took refugee at the French Embassy in Kigali between April 7 and 11, 1994.

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The indictment alleges that during that period the defendant was busy distributing weapons and ordering killings against Tutsis in his home commune of Nyabikenke in Gitarama prefecture, central Rwanda.

Nzabonimana is facing five charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder. He denied the charges.

Mrs. Mugiraneza who had already testified in 2008 in defence of her husband, the Minister of Civil Service in 1994, said she saw Nzabonimana himself together with his family and several other authorities when she arrived at the French Embassy on April 7, 1994.

Mugiraneza was jointly tried alongside three other former Rwandan ministers. His case is at the stage of drafting the judgment. 

‘'I saw Nzabonimana on April 7 when we arrived at the French Embassy and continued seeing him on the next day until 11th  April when I left with my family to go to Hotel of the Diplomats,'' Mrs. Mugiraneza told the Chamber as she was being examined in-chief by the accused French lead defence counsel, Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse.

The witness asserted that the only day she saw Nzabonimana left the French Embassy during the period in question was April 9, 1994 in the morning but he returned in the evening. She said that was the day her husband and Nzabonima were appointed ministers of the interim government.

The trial continues with the cross examination of the witness.


© Hirondelle News Agency